Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wheelchair/Scooter Theft: We Are Immobilized

I was reading Hoyden about Town when I cam across this post.

I came across a link drop that really must be seen, I will get you started and you can finish at Hoyden.

College student’s wheelchair stolen from campus

A disabled college student is having trouble getting around campus, after someone stole his motorized wheelchair. [...] Horus had locked it up and left it charging overnight. When he returned to campus, it was gone – all that was left was the charger. [...] Horus’ wheelchair cost about $5,000 and that means whoever stole it faces grand theft charges.

“It’s really difficult for me to replace it. To replace it, it would take me like a year,” Horus said.

Boys customized wheelchair taken from in front of home

The family of an 8-year-old boy whose wheelchair vanished from the front of their home is hoping the person who took it will bring it back. The family said that wheelchair is a lifeline for their son Mohammed who suffers from a crippling disorder that he developed when he was just three years old. [...]

Mohammed cannot leave his home without the wheelchair. He has already missed two days of school. It is custom-made and costs about $4,000.

Mobility scooters driven like dodgems and destroyed

FOUR elderly couples say they have been stranded in their homes after their mobility scooters were taken and driven “like dodgems” – before being destroyed. They disappeared from properties in Midlothian over the last week, leaving disabled residents unable to leave their homes. [...]

Jimmy O’Donnell, 71, also from Newtongrange, had his mobility scooter taken from his garden shed and later found by police smashed up. His wife Heather, 62, said: “Jimmy won’t be able to go down the street without the scooter – he will be housebound.”

Mother stranded as wheelchair stolen

Thieves have stolen a disabled mother’s wheelchair from the doorstep of a Wolverhampton house, leaving her distraught and unable to move.

Appealing for the return of her “lifeline”, 49-year-old Karen Hughes says she has been reduced to crawling on her hands and knees to get about and is having to be cared for by family members. Health chiefs are hoping to find her a replacement but warn it could be five months before money can be found for the specialised equipment.

When I first got my scooter, I was warned about a high theft rate and to be honest I did not believe him.  Who, I thought would be low enough to steal a wheelchair or a mobility scooter?  This link round up hit me on a really personal level.  Without my scooter simple everyday tasks would be impossible for me to do.  I could not go to the bank or even run the smallest errands. 

When you take away someone's mobility device, you are sentencing them to a life in the house.  They are extremely expensive to replace and waiting for government coverage can take some time, if you are even eligible for a new one. I had the financial resources to pay for my mobility scooter but not everyone is in the same position. 

News stories like this confirm something that I have come to know as true, despite the social myth that the able bodied are kind to the physically disabled, the opposite in fact is true.  When we have our devices we are treated as a nuisances and the theft of said devices stand sas proof that we are expected to be invisible and disappear from society.  Stealing someone’s mobility device is not a victimless crime, or a childhood prank; it is an act of human cruelty and should be treated as such.